If you missed (or were denied) the opportunity to get your name down on the list for a new Ford GT, it may be a while before you get your chance again. Fortunately examples of the previous version come up for sale all the time. But this may be the most noteworthy example we’ve seen yet.
What you’re looking at is CP-1 – the first confirmation prototype that Ford built for the GT, back in 2003. Though there were three display prototypes built before it (all of which remain in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearbon), this is the first “runner,” complete with functioning engine, drivetrain, and full interior.
As if that didn’t make CP-1 special enough, it has some standout features that make it even more so. Chief among them is the carbon-fiber rear clamshell covering the engine compartment, which Ford later replaced with a more cost-effective aluminum unit for production when it realized it would cost $45,000 to produce.
It also bears the signatures of 13 members of the original team behind the retro supercar, including company chairman Bill Ford, designer Camillo Pardo, chief engineer Fred Goodnow, and the legendary Carroll Shelby.
Used extensively by development engineers, it has functional testing components fitted like a “sniffer pipe” for emissions testing, quick-release valves for the fuel tank, test connections and monitoring equipment, as well as airbags lifted from a Mustang and a steering column from a Windstar minivan. It also has the striking aluminum headliner and (at least some of) the aluminum rings in the seat, as Pardo originally envisioned, but were later dropped from the production version.
In 2008, long after development was completed, Ford sold CP-1 to noted collector Joey Limongelli – the guy who literally wrote the book on the Ford GT. Unfortunately the engineers fitted a 5-mph speed limiter on it, relegating it to display purposes only. But it can move under its own power into the garage and onto the whatever platform on which it’s being displayed.
Now consigned to Russo and Steele, GT #004 is set to cross the auction block in Scottsdale, Arizona, during the five-day sale set to take place January 18-22.
Reached for comment on its projected sale price, Russo and Steele spokesman Darin Roberge told us that “it’s difficult to provide an estimate” on a unique prototype such as this. However the same auction house sold the second confirmation prototype in Monterey this past summer for $836,000, and we won’t be surprised to see this one sell for even more.